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Having fresh, clean oil in your engine is vital if you want it to run well and last a long time.
Changing the oil is one of the most common repairs out there, and an engine oil change costs between $27 – $87 at the vast majority of garages. It’s a quick and simple repair, so the majority of the cost will be for the oil and the filter instead of the labor.
The cost will also be influenced by the type of oil you use. Conventional oil will be the least expensive but have the shortest range while synthetic oil will have a longer range at a higher cost. This is due to the amount of time it takes for the molecules in the oil to begin to break down and become dirty. Most modern cars recommended synthetic oils so make sure to consult your owners manual to find out exactly what type and weight is recommended. As cars get older, it is also recommended to switch to a synthetic or synthetic blend oil that will reduce some of the stress on the engine and help it to last longer.
Oil Change Cost Comparison
|Parts & Labour||12 months||$27 – $82|
|Parts & Labour||12 months||$22 – $87|
|Parts & Labour||12 months||$27 – $60|
|Parts & Labour||24 months||$31 – $60|
|Parts||Limited||$18 – $56|
|Parts||Limited||$15 – $90|
What Is An Oil Change?
Oil is an essential part of the engine, responsible for circulating around the engine and lubricating the various moving parts. Without oil, the engine would pull itself apart and the rubbing between these moving components gradually cause extreme levels of friction. The excessive wear and tear caused by these not lubricated parts would cause the engine to fail pretty quickly, so maintaining a good quality of oil in your engine could save you a fortune in repairs.
The friction caused by the moving parts in an engine causes tiny particles to fall off them over time. Left unchecked, these microscopic particles can cause fairly severe damage to an engine. The engine oil works by absorbing them, moves them outside of the engine and into the oil filter where they are removed and the oil recirculates.
Engine oil also works to reduce corrosion and rust by minimizing the exposure of the engine to oxygen. The moving parts of an engine also generate a lot of heat, so oil can act as a coolant by absorbing a portion of that energy.
Changing the oil regularly will remove the older oil which can become dirty over time and replace it with fresh oil, helping the engine operate at an optimal level and reducing the risk of any potential damage.
Benefits of an Oil Change
Over time, oil collects numerous contaminants which have a negative effect on it’s performance. The various particles and other dirt it picks up will accumulate over time, and water can gather and cause sludge. If left for too long, the dirty oil can actually cause damage to the engine it’s supposed to be protecting.
Replacing the oil and the filter on a regular basis provides the engine with a supply of clean, fresh oil which will allow it to do it’s job properly. The result it that your engine and the components should remain in a better condition for a longer period of time.
When Should You Have The Oil Changed?
The frequency of oil changes will depend on a number of factors, such as your driving conditions and they type of car you drive. Changing the oil regularly can considerably improve the lifespan of an engine, often doubling the amount of mileage you’d get from a good car.
Most manufacturers will recommend a change every 3,000 to 7,500 miles, but that’s in fairly idyllic driving conditions. In extreme operating conditions, oil can need changed as frequently as every 1,000 miles.
Extreme operating conditions are actually a lot more common than the name suggests. If you spend most of your time in rush hour traffic or in stop/start conditions in the city, make multiple short trips every day while letting the engine cool completely in between, or rarely drive the car at higher speeds, those can be considered extreme conditions. The engine won’t be getting the chance to get hot enough to evaporate the water which accumulates in the crankcase, which causes sludge to build up in the engine.
If you live in a particularly hot climate, in an area with high levels of blowing dirt or dust, or if you find yourself towing heavy loads a lot of the time, those would also be considered extreme conditions. Manufacturers will usually give a recommendation on how often oil should be changed in extreme conditions for newer vehicles, and on older cars it should be changed every 1,000 – 3,000 miles.
Newer vehicles, in optimal operating conditions, can run for a substantially longer period of time on new oil. Manufacturers often recommend changing the oil every 7,500 miles, but it’s worth bearing in mind that they estimate this on ideal conditions and have a financial incentive for your engine not lasting as long as it could.
Improvements in motor oil technology means it often lasts longer than it used to, but to be on the safe side you should look to have the oil changed every 5,000 miles or so in decent driving conditions. This target, or a change every 6 months, should be more than sufficient for the vast majority of drivers.
If the majority of your driving is on the freeway and you are taking long trips at high speeds, the chances are you can leave it a little longer between changes. If you drive on country roads or in the city, you should probably consider this the higher end of the time between changes. Either way, never go further than the manufacturers recommended limit between changes.
What Is Done During An Oil Change?
- The mechanic will usually lay down some plastic sheeting before driving the car on top of it. It can be a messy job, so this helps remove a lot of the clean up work.
- The car will be jacked up to allow for easy access to the underside of the engine.
- The tools required are usually a box-end wrench, a rubber mallet, a filter wrench, a drain pan for the oil and the new oil filter. These will be on hand when they start the work to help make things easier.
- Before starting the work, the mechanic will apply some of the fresh oil to the gasket of the new oil filter.
- The drain plug will be removed to allow the old oil to drain from the engine. While this is going on, the old oil filter will be replaced with the new one.
- When the old oil is down to a slight trickle, a new gasket will be installed on the plug if it’s needed and it will be tightened up with the box end wrench and mallet.
- The mechanic will clean up any drips under the car, and will add new oil to the engine to complete the job.
How to Save Money on Oil Changes
Changing the oil is a reasonably straightforward job, so it’s one of a handful of repairs which you can do yourself (if you have the tools for the job). Having your oil changed is an inexpensive repair, so most places won’t charge you much, if anything, for labor costs. You can save by picking up some cheaper oil, but make sure it matches the manufacturers recommendation for your car.
Some repair shops offer oil changes as part of your regular servicing, so it may not be something you ever need to have done outside of your regular maintenance.
How Much Does an Oil Change Cost?
Below are some example prices for having the oil changed in some popular models of car. While the cost of an engine oil change will vary depending on your car and where you live, they should give you an idea of what to expect.
|Ford F-Series||$0 – $0||$27 – $60||$27 – $60|
|Chevrolet Silverado||$0 – $0||$27 – $60||$27 – $60|
|Ford Focus||$0 – $0||$27 – $60||$27 – $60|
|Toyota Camry||$0 – $0||$27 – $62||$27 – $62|
|Toyota Corolla||$0 – $0||$27 – $62||$27 – $62|
|Nissan Altima||$0 – $0||$31 – $60||$31 – $60|
|Honda CR-V||$0 – $0||$49 – $87||$49 – $87|
|Honda Civic||$0 – $0||$27 – $60||$27 – $60|
|Honda Accord||$0 – $0||$28 – $60||$28 – $60|
|Ford Fusion||$0 – $0||$27 – $60||$27 – $60|